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Local Licks

This week, we review Friendzone, Mark Eitzel, Philistines, and JL Stiles.



Friendzone, Collection 1

One of the leading producers in the Bay Area's "cloud rap" scene — and the duo behind the beats for Main Attrakionz — Friendzone creates spaced-out, ragged, and disjointed beats similar to those from LA producer Baths. Get a feel for its style on new instrumental mixtape Collection 1. (self-released)

Mark Eitzel, Don't Be a Stranger

Fans of San Francisco's sentimental indie rockers American Music Club will likely relish the latest solo record from frontman Mark Eitzel. Eitzel's signature croon has shifted with age from a smooth fifty-year-old single-malt scotch to the harsh aftertaste of the stuff that comes in a plastic bottle. Still, the delicate guitar fingerwork, heard best on "The Bill Is Due," and introspective lyricism remain intact. (Merge Records)

At The Starry Plough (3101 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley) on Nov. 1. 9 p.m., $12, $20.  

Philistines, Therewolves!

Those pining for the good-ol' days of lo-fi Nineties indie rock should probably skip the debut album from San Francisco's Philistines and opt for Pavement or The Fall, which do it better. Only "Battle Stations" stands out with its firm, catchy drum beat and anthemic guitar changes. Lead single "Complications" repeats the verse it's all been done — and that's really the problem at hand with this album. (self-released)

At Hemlock Tavern (1131 Polk St., San Francisco) on Saturday, Nov. 17. 9:30 p.m., $7.  

JL Stiles, JL Stiles Presents House of Murmurs

On his fourth album, JL Stiles channels Sixties pop for his guitar-driven songs that draw from jazz, ragtime, and, to a lesser extent, flamenco. Tracks such as "Beneath the Light" and "Movin,'" in which Stiles' deadpan, speak-sing voice is backed by sweet female vocals, call to mind Serge Gainsbourg. (self-released)

At Cafe du Nord (2170 Market St.) on Thursday, Nov. 1. 7:30 p.m., $10, $12.  

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